Today’s Scrip-Bit   30 October 2022 Matthew 5:16.

Matthew 5:16.       Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Glory be my people, it’s Sunday once again! So come let’s gather round in joyful fellowship and give much thanks and praise to our wonderful God! As Psalm 100 so rightly tells us: ‘Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.’ (Ps. 100: 4-5) Now those are words we can never doubt, because they are gospel truth! And Psalm 100 is so chucked full of wisdom in every verse that if you’re not careful it can confuse you. (smile) 

But there is absolutely no chance of confusion with this earlier verse that wisely advices: ‘Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.’ (Ps. 100:2) And since we’re ever so wise and obedient my friends, that is exactly what we’re going to do right now. And today we’re going to spice up our sacrificial praise with an old gospel spiritual titled ‘Give Me Oil in My Lamp.’ Yes, some of you ole fogeys will remember that one. It was popular way back in time, but it certainly hasn’t lost its saltiness, and is therefore still worth singing. So let’s raise our sweet, harmonic voices to heaven in an up-tempo, scintillating, foot stomping, handclapping version. 

Altogether now: ‘Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning. Give me oil in my lamp, I pray. Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning, burning, burning. Keep me burning till the break of day. (Refrain: Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King of kings! Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King!) Give me LOVE in my heart, keep me sharing. Give me LOVE in my heart, I pray. Give me LOVE in my heart, keep me sharing, sharing, sharing. Keep me sharing till the break of day. (Refrain) 

Give me joy in my heart, keep me singing. Give me joy in my heart, I pray. Give me joy in my heart, keep me singing, singing, singing. Keep me singing till the break of day. (Refrain) Give me faith in my heart, keep me praying. Give me faith in my heart, I pray. Give me faith in my heart, keep me praying, praying, praying. Keep me praying till the break of day. (Refrain: Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King of kings! Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King!)’ 

Ah mih people, I’m sure that reminded some of us of olden times when we’d belt that tune out in church. And is there ever need for oil in our lamps in these dark and trying times, if we’re to do like Jesus says: ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt. 5:16) Yes, our lights can’t shine if our lamps are dry like Jesus’ parable of the ten virgins at a Jewish wedding found in Matthew 25:1-13. 

Five of the virgins or attendants were wise and five were foolish. The wise ones took extra oil for their lamps just in case the bridegroom came late. The foolish ones didn’t, and it so happens the bridegroom was late, and their lamps ran out of oil, and they had to go and get more oil from the oil dealer. But by the time they came back the ceremony was in progress and they got locked out. Wherefore Jesus ended the parable with these memorable words. ‘Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of man cometh.’ (Matt, 25:13) 

Yes my brethren, the bridegroom is obviously Jesus, and the church his bride, as is mentioned in Matt. 9:15, John 3:27-30, Eph. 5:25-32), and the parable refers to Jesus’ coming again, the day, time, nor hour no one knows but the Father. That means we have to be in a state of constant readiness; the first requirement being obviously born again with the Holy Spirit indwelling us. 

A commentary on the song says: ‘For the religious, one interpretation is that it signifies a thirst for spiritual food—spiritual food to get one through the darkest of times in hopes of a brighter day, a clearer vision of one’s path or until one gains their salvation.’ And that’s a valid interpretation. But I like how the gotquetions.org website describes the parable in general. 

‘The five virgins who have the extra oil represent the truly born again who are looking with eagerness to the coming of Christ. They have saving faith and have determined that, whatever occurs, be it lengthy time or adverse circumstances, when Jesus returns, they will be looking with eagerness. The five virgins without the oil represent false believers who enjoy the benefits of the Christian community without true love for Christ. They are more concerned about the party than about longing to see the bridegroom. Their hope is that their association with true believers (“give us some of your oil” of verse 8) will bring them into the kingdom at the end. 

This, of course, is never the case. One person’s faith in Jesus cannot save another. The “Lord, lord” and “I do not know you” of verses 11 and 12 fit very well with Jesus’ condemnation of the false believers of (Matthew 7:21-23), “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” 

Oh  my fellow believers, if Jesus said it, then it’s entirely possible. Anyhow, the song encompasses all that we need to wait for Jesus; namely, the oil of the Holy Spirit to light up our lives, that keeps our lamps burning, LOVE in our hearts that keeps us sharing, joy in our hearts that keeps us singing, and faith in our hearts to keep us praying. We can’t ask for more than that, because those things encompass it all. 

And I believe the end of the article from the gotquestions.org website, also makes a fitting end for our Bit today. ‘May we not be found “going away to make the purchase” (v. 10) when Christ returns. Take the time now to fill your lamp with oil and take extra along. Keep waiting and watching with joy and anticipation.’ Now that is wisdom of enormous proportions! Please let’s take strong and serious hold of it. Much LOVE!

…the moral of the story…be not found wanting when Jesus returns…

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ        

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